Premier League week 3: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers
Arsenal yesterday completed the signing of Sebastien Squillaci from Sevilla, the Spanish club. The 30-year-old centre-back was set to train with his new teammates today, but will not feature in tomorrow's trip to Blackburn Rovers. Arsenal may yet strengthen their backline further despite their 6-0 demolition of Blackpool last week in their first home game of the season. Meanwhile Andrey Arshavin has issued a "We want revenge" warning to Blackburn. The Rovers all but ended his club's hopes of title success last season, beating them 2-1 at Ewood Park in May.
The vacant manager's post at Villa Park will be filled during the international break, according to Kevin McDonald, the caretaker coach. The Scotsman remains a favourite to take over from Martin O'Neill, who resigned before the start of the season, even after Monday's 6-0 defeat by Newcastle United, but Bob Bradley, the United States coach, is also reckoned to be in the running. Rumours linking Emile Heskey to an exit from the club have been dismissed, but Robbie Keane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, could yet swap London for the Midlands as he struggles to get first team action.
Alex McLeish will continue to pursue Charles N'Zogbia, the unsettled Wigan winger, despite having a £9 million (Dh51.3m) bid rejected earlier this week. The Scotsman views N'Zogbia as the final piece of his jigsaw this summer as Birmingham look to build on ninth last season. And although reports claims the business of Carson Yeung, the club's owner, is on the brink of collapse, McLeish insists he is being given the financial backing he needs. "I don't know the ins and outs of the business side...But I have asked for some help in bringing new players in and it's been given."
Mame Biram Diouf, the Rovers striker on loan from Manchester United, proved his worth on Tuesday night in his first match for his new club. The Senegal international powered home a hat-trick in Blackburn's 3-1 Carling Cup second round victory over Norwich City and is now expected to feature tomorrow against Arsenal. Sam Allardyce, the Rovers manager, knows the importance of his side's home form - they lost just three times at Ewood Park last season to ensure they were never in any danger of being dragged into a relegation fight. "We can scare Arsenal," he said. "And hopefully we can scare them enough to get a result again." * Compiled by Gary Meenaghan and Paul Radley
Published: August 27, 2010 04:00 AM